Hydraulic Brake Maintenance and Makeover

Hydraulic Brake Maintenance and Makeover
Brakes are one of the most authoritative systems on a collector car. Your car may run excellent, but if it doesn ’ metric ton stop the same way, it can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be driven safely. Most pre-1970 collector cars lack advanced safety devices like a dual master cylinder, antilock brake system ( ABS ) and phonograph record brakes. Certain upgrade to original brake equipment can greatly enhance the safety of classic cars. Let ’ s review how hydraulic brakes solve and see how we can make them even better .
When you hit the brakes, several things take place. The press you apply to the infantry pedal is transmitted to the brake master cylinder. ( If you have office brakes, it goes through a vacuum booster first, and then to the master cylinder. ) The overcome cylinder turns the bicycle apparent motion into hydraulic pressure that travels through metal brake lines and rubber bracken hoses to the wheel cylinders. Pistons in each wheel cylinder travel clash pads ( brake shoes or disc-brake pads ) against a alloy drum or rotor to stop the wheel from turning .
Your brake shoes ( or pads ) and drums ( or rotors ) must be in estimable condition. Finding such parts for previous cars used to be quite difficult, but there are immediately companies specializing in some of the lost arts like re-lining shoes and turning bracken drums. A Minneapolis firm named Brake & Equipment Warehouse ( www.brakeplace.com ) stocks over 45,000 vintage brake parts from brand-name manufacturers. This ship’s company besides turns brake drums, although it ’ s likely you can find a local repair shop or car parts store that still does this dim-witted operation .
When it comes to upgrading the mechanical operation of your brake system, there are limited options available. If you own a Corvette or Mustang, you might be able to find racing-type sintered metallic bracken linings or high-performance disc brake calipers or rotors. But if you ’ rhenium working on a Stanley, Stutz or Studebaker, just finding newly parts is probably enough of a challenge.

Brake system hydraulics, on the other hand, can now be upgraded on any car by having the chief cylinder and wheel cylinders sleeved with stainless steel. In summation, pre-bent “ never-rust ” stainless steel brake lines are immediately available for many previous cars. many hobbyists who worry more about condom than originality are besides switching to braided stainless steel brake hoses, which work well and are easier to install than even pre-bent lines. The manipulation of silicone brake fluid always stirs up a spot of a debate .

Routine Maintenance

Before discussing any upgrades, let ’ s get into act maintenance of your brake organization hydraulics. even if you prefer not to upgrade, inspecting your original-equipment brake lines and hoses on a regular basis is hush significant. Check for nicks, fluid escape, kinks and corrode on the brake lines. bombastic build-ups of road dirt can trap moisture, so you ’ ll want to clean any of those off ahead problems begin .
Compare the blueprint of your system with illustrations in your shop manual. One hobbyist recently had a leak explicate in the brake line on his ’ 53 Pontiac. He looked for a fix where the leak occurred and couldn ’ thyroxine find one. When he ordered new, pre-bent stainless steel steel lines from a company named authoritative Tube www.classictube.com, the catalogue said the car should have five lines. That agreed with a picture in the shop manual of arms – but the car had six lines .
person had replaced a single long argumentation that ran from front to rear with two shorter lines joined in the middle. The haunt took years, but the non-factory joint in the middle is where the fluid ultimately leaked from. This suggests that the factory engineers knew what they were doing when they designed a five-piece system back in 1953 .
Regarding the hydraulic system, check the flexible brake hoses for deterioration. This will normally show up as cracks in the circumference of the rubber hose. Hoses can besides be sliced and nicked by road debris. If there is any sign of brake fluid escape, the hosiery will need to be replaced. Replace any line or hose that shows significant deterioration. The bracken fluid moves through these conduits under highly high hydraulic coerce. Any weakness in the system can cause a bankruptcy and precede to a serious shipwreck. Our ally with the Pontiac was driving 60 miles per hour a few minutes before his line blow .
even do-it-yourselfers may need some professional advice when installing bracken lines. You can save money by obtaining the parts and doing the “ grunt work ” yourself, but an adept can give you tips on snaking them along or through the frame rails and making leak-free connections. For exemplify, you may have to drop the Pitman arm to get the brake line that runs down the frame track into proper position. The professional will know something like that .
While the initiation of brake lines might require some special skills, experience and tools, most do-it-yourselfers should be able to replace a bracken line if the old parts come apart easy adequate. basic hand tools will suffice for most of the work involved, though you ’ ll need a 6-point flare nut twist. This type of wrench is about closed but has an orifice large adequate to slip over the brake credit line. The six-pointed end fits snugly on the brake line adjustment, which is made of relatively soft brass. The cubby match keeps it from ruining the meet .
Tech Tip : A $ 3 cupcake can makes a great storehouse tray for little brake system parts .
The car will have three hoses if it has a upstanding rear axle house. One will run to each front wheel cylinder and one will be at the rear. This line will be connected to a junction auction block on the axle housing on one end and to a bracken line, held in a frame bracket, at the other end. Cars with transaxles will have two hoses up movement and two in the buttocks. If one movement hose is bad, replace both. If you have two rear hoses, follow this advice, besides. On cars with disk brakes, the hoses will run to a caliper rather than to a wheel cylinder.

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The basic steps involved in replacing a brake hose start with securing the cable car so it won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hustle. If working on the land, use the park brake and put chocks under the wheels on the side of the car antonym where you ’ ra cultivate. If working on a lift, follow the lift godhead ’ sulfur instructions to firmly secure the car. Use an open-end twist on the bracken hose equip at the frame bracket that holds the hosiery to the human body of the car. Use your 6-point flare-nut wrench to turn the brake agate line match at the frame bracket. Once the equip is lax, hold the open-end wrench to the brake hose fit, unscrew the brake tune meet and work the fit back and fourthly a stern turn until it freewheels. then unscrew it from the brake hosiery .
Use a malleus and punch to remove the horseshoe clip that holds the brake hose fitting to the frame of reference bracket. Tap against the bend over top border of the clip until it comes loose. Pull the old brake hose off the frame bracket .
With the open-end wring, work the brake hosiery fitting loose on the other conclusion of the hosiery where it attaches to the wheel cylinder or caliper or junction block. You may need to use a spray-on rust buster. Remove the old hosiery. Obtain the proper substitute hose or have one made. Attach the new hose to the wheel cylinder or caliper or junction obstruct by reversing these steps. immediately, position the early side of the hose in the frame digest bracket. advertise it through the bracket and hold it in position on the other side of the bracket with the horseshoe snip, which you can drive over the depression in the hose copulate with a mallet or hammer .
Insert the bracken production line fitting into the brake hose couple and tighten with your 6-point flare-nut twist while holding the brake hosiery meet from turning with your open-end wrench. Bleed the brakes. once everything is reassembled, check that everything is close and cautiously give the car a road trial. At first, test everything at low speed, so the emergency brake can stop the car if there ’ s a problem .

Hydraulic Brake Upgrading

Upgrades can be made to about any authoritative car that uses hydraulic brakes. Having the overlord cylinder and steering wheel cylinders sleeved with stainless steel steel is the first of these improvements. A leaky master cylinder or roulette wheel cylinder is normally caused by rust and pits forming inside the cylinder bore, specially during farseeing periods of storehouse. The pit allows brake fluent to leak around the rubberize cup on the pistons. Sleeving the bores with stainless sword eliminates the possibility of rusting. If you visit www.brakeplace.com you ’ ll be able to see the machines used to do this and how it is done. Apple Hydraulics ( www.applehydraulics.com ), White Post Restorations ( www.whitepost.com ) and Stainless Steel Brakes ( www.ssbrakes.com ) are early companies that offer this service .
If you ’ re going to the worry and expense of sleeving the cylinders with stainless steel steel, why not go all the direction and get a set of stainless steel steel brake lines ? These are more expensive than standard steel lines, but the advantage is again that they will never rust. That means that your brake lines will credibly concluding constantly or for at least equally long as you own the car. You won ’ thyroxine have to redo the brakes every 5 to 10 years .
Some restorers are replacing brake lines with braid stainless steel hoses. The advantage of this modification is that the flexible braided hoses are a lot easier to route along the chassis than solid brake lines. They besides look great, which is why street rodders and muscle car builders like them. however, they ’ re a variation from OEM equipment and will decrease the originality of the vehicle. In accession, they could affect your policy coverage, so be certain to check .
We alluded to silicone brake fluid ( Dot 5 fluid ), and we ’ ll accept that some hobbyists swear by it and others swear at it. Conventional ( Dot 3/Dot 4 ) bracken fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it can absorb moisture. Silicone ( Dot 5 ) brake fluid doesn ’ t absorb moisture, which besides reduces corrode and corrosion inside the brake system. however, some hobbyists say that they have experienced problems with brake unhorse switches and rubber eraser parts when silicone brake fluid is used. U.S. Army tests that the writer studied years ago documentation positivist claims made for silicone brake fluent. This fluent is in two sports cars I own that were stored for many years. On both cars, the brakes work absolutely, but that doesn ’ metric ton bastardly that you ’ ll have the like have.

In world, it doesn ’ t matter if you make other upgrades like stainless steel sleeving of all cylinders and using stainless steel sword bracken lines. With stainless steel used throughout the system, you can use the time-proven conventional brake fluid and you should never experience rusting or pit of major parts .
John “ Gunner ” Gunnell is the automotive books editor program at Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., and former editor program of Old Cars Weekly and Old Cars Price Guide .

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Category : Car Brakes